Hearst’s SF Chron into the Groupon Zone

Someone pointed out to me earlier today that the Hearst-owned SF Chronicle is now doing a Groupon-style daily deal.

As these sites and deals programs proliferate one is led to question whether the Groupons and LivingSocials can keep their lead. Facebook could, for example, quickly co-opt this model.

By the same token, you have to ask whether the “imitators” are going to be able to build the volume and range of offers necessary to sustain such programs. And the small businesses have got to be saying: “Who are you with again?” They’re receiving dozens of telephone calls daily from yellow pages reps, newspapers now selling SMB marketing, deal sites, direct mail vendors and the list goes on.

The feeling of “overwhelm” at the SMB level has got to be such that they’re going to start saying “talk to the hand.”

My previous post on Groupon received a lot of comments. Among the most interesting was one from a dental office that had used the service but said it would not again.

Regarding the upstarts and insurgents, you’ve got to believe that they’ll be asking for smaller margins and have more favorable terms for SMBs. And that’s how they’ll win business: “You’ve heard of Groupon? We’re like that only better . . .”

In fact lots of SMBs have apparently heard of Groupon. In an SMB survey of Foursquare marketers that I participated in (n=125) we found very high levels of awareness of Groupon — and higher than some very well established sites:

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7 Responses to “Hearst’s SF Chron into the Groupon Zone”

  1. Malcolm Lewis says at

    Congrats on the new site. Looks great. But no new mug shot? I can’t believe all those briefings haven’t aged you over the last few years đŸ˜‰

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    My pact with Satan keeps me young and fit….

  3. Dan Entin says at

    Failed to note that TownHog (http://townhog.com/) is powering the SF Chronicle deals site.

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    Thanks Dan . . .

  5. Stan Gauss says at

    This must be a huge profit center since all the copycats look very much like the originator up to and including the offer to invite friends and earn $10. I believe Analog Analytics is also providing a service that looks exactly like this to media companies (http://dealoftheday.ocregister.com/daily_deals/71).

    Maybe I am missing something.. it could be the look and feel that drives customers in and this is just a good business plan to get to the small towns before Groupon and Living Social get there.

  6. Tim Cohn says at

    Congratulations on the new site. Looks great.

    Who helped you get it done?

    Would you recommend their services?

  7. Greg Sterling says at


    Analog Analytics has a good service. But as Dan E. points out above it’s TownHog doing the SF Chron deal.

    Tim: David Mihm did it with input/direction from me . . . . yes.

  8. London First Stop for LivingSocial Expansion says at

    […] — there will be consolidation and a few winners will emerge over the next year. In addition traditional media companies will start doing this with white label vendors like Analog Analytics and some of the consumer-facing companies will turn […]

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